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There were never real keyboard controls to begin with. Because of how the game plays, it isn't possible to be played with a keyboard.
This patch removed some debug keyboard controls we accidentally left in. You couldn't play properly with them though since you wouldn't have been able to get up from a KO.
I totally understand how having it as it is would increase donations. I don't expect that to change, but I think it'd be cool to have the option to have it either before or after. Or maybe the option to make it a separate button on the page somewhere.
Anyways, consider it! I hope you can find something that'll work!
Disclaimer: the opinions presented here are my own and do not reflect the team's as a whole.
Bear Knuckle Boxing was an excellent exercise in my ability to improvise and change stuff quickly during the development process. The game I set out to make and the game I ended up with are similar, but not quite the same. This is largely due to a major technical issue during the last day of the jam that had me cut out a major system that I personally consider the heart of the game.
So without further ado, here's my post mortem take on Bear Knuckle Boxing.
What Went Wrong
Now, I know what you're probably thinking if you've played the game: "what microphone input". Well, you're not wrong. We cut it a few hours before submission time.
I'd made a microphone input system for Unity that was working fine all day on the Saturday, but come the Sunday it decided it didn't want to work anymore. I tested it with several different microphones but it just didn't want to come back.
We tried fixing it for a couple hours, but had no luck. In the end, it got cut out.
The original design for the game was that you had to fight until someone falls, then that player would need to shout encouraging things like "You can do it!" or "Keep trying!" to their fighter to get them to stand back up. That was going to be our unique hook on the boxing genre. With this cut out, the game just isn't as interesting or exciting as I wanted it to be.
But I guess this is what happens when trying new things in a jam setting. Sure, it might not have worked out, but we didn't spend a lot of time on it and we all learned from the experience, so it was beneficial to us in the end.
Fighting Game Experience
Without movement or a unique twist, the fighting in the game is really lackluster. It works out to a simple two button fighter that isn't very exciting to play. The getting up mechanic works well to offset this, since it still produces good friction for the player, but the combat itself is a bit lacking.
We opted for a simple combat experience in order to focus more time on the microphone mechanics, but since those didn't work out all we were left with was a simple fighting system.
What Went Right
Considering I brought on two artists the day after the jam started, I think things turned out great. The art and animations look and feel very good and definitely make the game look super polished, which goes a long way in a jam game.
The speed at which new assets and animations were produced was incredibly impressive. A huge thanks to Josh and Wu for their help!
The sound of the game also turned out really good. I also brought on Carson to help with sounds and music at the same time I asked for art help, so it was all done pretty last minute. With that in mind, it turned out really good! From the energetic music to the humanoid bear language spoken, all the sounds make the game feel more alive than if it had all been silence or generated retro sounds.
Last minute we decided we wanted paralax backgrounds, but instead of doing it the normal way with scrolling scripts I chose to instead switch our cameras over to perspective mode and layer the backgrounds in 3D space. This lead to some great and unique scrolling background effects and also allowed me to move around the cameras in ways that wouldn't have been possible in 2D.
What Was Learned
Polish Until You Can See Your Reflection
Polish goes a long way in a jam game. Good art, animations and sound can take a jam game from a 7/10 to a 9/10. Even if you don't have the best game, being more polished can net a lot of points.
My advice to get more polish points is to include these things:
- Juice (Screenshake, Camera Stuff)
With these you might even be able to trick people into thinking you spent more than 2 days on your game!
Test Sooner and More
If we'd done more rigorous testing sooner, we'd probably have discovered the issues with the mic input and maybe have been able to fix them during the jam time. Going forward, I definitely plan to test weird mechanics sooner in development as well as more thoroughly.
It would be really nice if we got the option to get the donation button to pop up after the download has started. My biggest problem with the donation system here is that the button forces you to skip a donation before the download will begin. My solution to this has always been disabling donations so it just downloads right away, but it would be nice if there was the option to have the popup come after the download starts.
I mean, the way the scores are counted can be weird. It's just a straight up average of your ratings, ignoring how many ratings you get. That makes it potentially less good to get more ratings.
I liked your game a lot though! It was awesome!
For Ludum Dare 41, the theme really got my team's designer sense tingling. It was a difficult challenge, to design a game that combines two things that are incompatible, but we took this challenge with confidence!
What Went Wrong
Originally the game didn't have separated aim and movement. The sword would point in the direction you were moving. When we had some peers test it around the morning of the second day, they said it felt bad. So, we changed it. It's hard to prove, but the controls feel so much better than they did with our original control scheme, even though they still aren't great.
The controls can and do feel unresponsive at times. So we tweaked and we tweaked, but the ways we were handling it on the most basic level were creating the problems. We'd have had to rewrite the entire aiming and attacking code, so we opted to just ship as is. The game controls especially poorly on a mouse and keyboard setup, which was our original intended control setup.
The reason the mouse aim is so twitchy is because it's using mouse axis as a replacement to controller axis for aiming. This means that it's not pointing towards the mouse point but rather the direction the mouse moved in last. This is why showing the cursor isn't an easy fix for the mouse aim.
You may have noticed that the game is actually fully 3D and not 2D. This was done mostly to allow us to use Navmesh to implement our AI. It came with it's own disadvantages though, and hitboxes are one of them.
The awkward perspective mixed with the fact that the assets are actually 3D lead to some seemingly weird bounds for the hitboxes. It's something that's pretty easy to fix, but we hadn't really noticed until after we shipped.
A lot of people have told me the attacking feels inaccurate, and to them, I say: you are absolutely correct. This is because the hitbox that's cast when you attack was, until hours before launch, for a horizontal slash attack. We opted to change to a stab motion very late in development, and when the hitboxes got changed to reflect that they broke everything for reasons still unknown to us.
I panic rolled it back to the old one since there was not time left to fix it and ended up releasing it as is.
What Went Right
Combination of Genres
Our design goal for Super Slime Slasher Ultra was to seamlessly combine the two incompatible genres. The goal was to make the match 3 mechanics feel natural in the action gameplay.
To do this, we tore apart what the defining traits of each genre were and took the best from both to make our design.
Here's what we decided we needed to include from both genres.
- Getting 3 or more things in a row.
- Exponential scoring.
- Combining colors or types.
- Free movement.
- Real time combat and player interactions.
- Death fail states.
By taking all these elements from the two genres, we managed to make the game you see today. Slimes run around like traditional action enemies with various subtle AI behaviors, and attack you when you collide with them. The fail state of the game is also dying from being attacked by slimes, as it would be in an action game. The match 3 mechanics are more subtle, requiring the player to kill 3 or more of the same slime color in a row to earn points. Killing slimes still plays like action, but in order to get points you need to think about the game like a match 3 game.
Apart from a few minor bugs and technical issues, the game ended up very polished. We set out to make a small, polished game instead of an ambitiously large unpolished one, and I think that decision paid off. The animations, voice acting, sounds and music make for a much more complete feeling experience than what most jam games tend to achieve.
I think the tutorial was also a good touch for polish points. Tutorials in jam games really make the game feel more finished, which is why we really pushed to put it in ours.
What Was Learned
Scope Small & Polish
A small game with more polish shows and (usually) plays better than a large game with less polish.
Find the Right Friction
This is a bit more theme specific, but a lot of the games used two incompatible genres as the friction in their designs. Putting two games into one that you play at the same time is a fun idea, but it's really hard to pull off in practice. Avoiding this by combining the genres in a way that makes them work well together creates a more fun and playable experience.
Test Test Test
Testing is important in jams. We started testing with friends and peers on day 2, which in hindsight is much too late. As soon as you're playable, someone else should play. Take the feedback and make changes. The sooner you get the feedback, the more time you have to implement changes, if you'll have time to implement changes at all.
Thank you all for playing Super Slime Slasher Ultra. I can't wait to see you next Ludum Dare!
This is absolutely genius!
It'd be awesome if you could make a mode that can save what you make, then the editor could reopen it to be played later (I know this is hard I've done it for my own FC). It'd step this up to the next level though.
It helps if you don't question it because we didn't and we definitely didn't consider how bad it sounds on paper.
Our protagonist is a floating hand named Hando so we like to think it makes sense since they can't speak.